Every Ontarian deserves the opportunity to safely travel abroad. That's why Ontario is launching a new program to fund out-of-country dialysis services, ensuring that Ontarians living with kidney failure can continue to have access to the care they need when travelling outside of Canada.
Starting January 1, 2020, this new program will be operated by the Ontario Renal Network with funding from the government and patients will receive the same reimbursement rates as currently provided through existing programs. The launch of this new program will coincide with the wind down of the inefficient Out-of-Country Travellers Program.
In 2018, Ontario's Auditor General reported that the province's Out-of-Country Travellers Program has had long-standing issues. The program spends a third of its funding on administration alone with 90 per cent of its payments going directly to the private travel industry, which submits claims on behalf of their insured clients. As well, with low reimbursement rates, Ontarians who do not purchase private travel health insurance can be left with catastrophically large bills to pay.
Insured Ontario residents will continue to receive coverage for physician and hospital services when visiting or moving to another Canadian province or territory. Travel health insurance is currently provided through many workplace plans and credit cards. Ontarians travelling abroad continue to be encouraged to purchase the appropriate travel insurance coverage in the event emergency health care is needed out of country.